Dining etiquette Your way to success

December 11, 2019


Since ancient times restaurants served not only as a place to eat outside of one’s own dining but also a place for social gathering and interaction. Restaurants use have still further widened as a place for exploring culinary delights, letting the hair down with family and friends, and also flaunt one’s social status besides a place for corporate business meetings over lunch or dinner, networking and conductinginterviews. In this scenario following dining etiquette throws a favourable light on you, adding value to your standing socially, personally and professionally.

Did You Know?

Etiquette is a French word, earlier it meant “ticket” or “label attached to something for identification.” Sixteenth-century Spainborrowed the French word and altered it to “etiqueta” to refer to the written protocols describing orders of precedence and behavior demanded of those who appeared in court. Later “etiqueta” came to be applied to the court ceremonies themselves and alsoto the documents which outlined the requirements for them. This interestingly then led to French speakers of the time attribute the sense of “proper behavior” to “étiquette,” and English speakers of the mid-eighteenth century finally adopted both the word and the second meaning of proper behaviour from the French.

Do’s and don’ts of dining

Some of the restaurant etiquette is common sense such as not speaking loudly, not speaking when the mouth is full, and not behaving impolitely or in a manner which is annoying. Knowing some more nuances will take you long way.

Some of the Do’s first:

  • Do always dress nicely, in clean and neat clothes.
  • Let your guest decide on the menu and order first.
  • Know where to put your napkin during eating and after finished.
  • Indicate to your waiter the price range on your drinks subtly.
  • Can take pictures of food, if your guests also take.
  • Avoid tasting your companions food if its business dinner.
  • Catch the attention of your waiter by sign, without yelling.
  • Order equal number of courses as your guest.
  • Do send back food that’s not cooked properly but ask others to continue eating.

Some don’ts which are more important than the Do’s

  • Don’t put your cell phone, keys, or purse on the table.
  • Don’t speak over cell phone if you’re in between a business meet, unless it’s emergency.
  • Don’t keep your elbow or hands on the table.
  • Don’t keep utensils at the side of the table when you’re not finished eating.

Navigating the table

Sometimes we wonder which bread plate is ours, the left or the right? Here is a simple way to remember this is using BMW – Bread, Meal, Water. Start from your left and make your way to the right. On the left is your bread plate, then your meal plate, and then your water. This is useful when you arrange place settings at an event too.

Special tips for those who attend interviews over lunch or dinner

  • Have a pleasant look and smile!
  • Beware of your body language –crossing your arms, slouching and dragging your feet are to be avoided.
  • Aptdress – to be on the safe side use business casuals when meeting with a potential employer, unless otherwise stated. Ensure your clothes are clean, wrinkle free and of right sizes.
  • Handshake – A firm handshake but not too strong. Keep fingers together with thumb up and open.
  • Eye Contact –Make clear eye contact when speaking with someone and when shaking their hand.

Always remember your basic table manners

  • Wipe your fingers and mouth often.
  • Avoid spilling water or liquids on the table and upon your clothing.
  • Wait for everyone to be served before you start eating.

  • Hold your wineglass by the stem.
  • Leave within 15 minutes of finishing your meal as your table can be given to the next waiting group.

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